Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Wednesday, 4 December 2019
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action
Renewable Energy - Wind, Solar and Biogas: Discussion
Mr. David Maguire:
We did engage with the Irish Farmers Association and we have been working with farming organisations. In response to the question on barriers to domestic generation other than planning, I note that there is no feed-in tariff. Consumers do not get a fair price for the power they do not use. It is simply injected into the grid and no price is paid. We would like to see a fair price for that. Setting that at the right level will be much more efficient than grant aid, which can come and go at the whim of the next Minister. Moreover, that could also alleviate fuel poverty. It would not just be wealthy houses who could afford to install solar panels. Those that are in jeopardy of fuel poverty would also be able to do so. Private sector banks will step up in the knowledge that if the power is not consumed, it will come back to households in the feed-in tariff.
The other challenge we face is the difficulty of connecting to the grid. The time it takes to get ESB Networks to respond and approve a connection for commercial projects, such as on the rooftop of a factory or a milking parlour, is incredibly long. They are the two core barriers as I see them.